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Indian Marketers Should Increase Reliance on Consumer Data: EY Study

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In India, 58% organizations acknowledge they have gaps in consumer data, leading to difficulties in data-driven decision making, according to a recent report by MMA-EY titled ‘Leveraging consumer data for marketing’.

The survey conducted among 150 marketers across retail, finance, automobile, media, healthcare, education, technology, etc., revealed insights into the maturity of consumer data strategy across the marketing landscape in India. The report highlights the importance of data-driven decision making and the challenges that are leading to gaps in consumer data.

As per the findings, data continues to become increasingly important in the new-age marketing with consumer data being used most for analytics, conversion tracking and re-targeting by marketers.

The report shows that 71% of Indian organizations use a blend of first-party and third-party data for marketing and marketers are increasing efforts to build first-party data that’s extremely crucial. That’s because with rising data concerns cookies are soon to be phased out and marketers will need to prioritize management and ownership of first party data.

However, 58% believe that gaps in data breadth, depth and quality needed to be addressed to enable optimal use of data for decision making. As Moneka Khurana, Country Head, India, MMA, explains that this first-hand insight will provide marketers with a perspective on harnessing data in the most effective and ethical manner, enabling them to offer better experiences to consumers, consequently improving their business ROI.

Needless to say, Indian marketers also face the challenges of ROI measurement and attribution, finds the study. Most of them saw the benefit of leveraging consumer data for marketing with performance and growth, and brand building emerging as two key focus areas for organizations.

As per the findings while 82% of marketers saw the benefit of leveraging consumer data for marketing but struggled with robust attribution models, only 12% of survey respondents have robust attribution models.

At the same time, the study states that governance is the major challenge in the data journey for companies. Consumer data is vulnerable, and it poses a significant threat in the current times. Data regulation and compliance processes safeguard the privacy of the consumer and ensure they are in place across the board because data travels through multiple departments in an organization.

However, the current state emphasizes the importance to have better data integration and utilization. As the study shows that 60% of Indian marketers had little to no integration of their first and third data with limited employee access. This reflects on the capabilities and skills for maximum data utilization and also provides a big opportunity for marketers.

Ashish Pherwani, Partner and Media and Entertainment Leader, EY India, says, “It is a critical time for companies to prioritize data maturity, assess where they stand and work towards maximizing the value of their data.”

That’s pertinent, especially in times of post pandemic, where brands have been adopting different strategies around consumer data to address the several challenges they were facing and consequently, significant innovation was taking place in the digital marketing and consumer data space.

Good news is, companies are looking at the power of consumer data to increase the efficiency of their marketing initiatives. In the process, they should leverage technologies and skills to collate data across different consumer touch points within the organization. The other key focus should be on the use of data, sharing data with partners in an increasingly distributed supply chain, attribution and measurement of RoI.

Another key take away from this study is that while brands are working on the data privacy policies and processes, every industry would need to define acceptable policies around what and how consumer data should be collated, stored, shared and used.

Pherwani says the research reveals that although most companies have made significant progress in compliance, they struggle to break down internal silos, activate data and build the right skillsets to drive ROI on their data investments.

“Most organizations are still building the processes and skills to effectively gather, analyze and execute against consumer data,” he says.

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